Of the Corruption of Natural Man and the Lord's Salvation.
This psalm may well have been composed at the time when David was specially impressed with the wickedness of men, when he felt the oppression of persecution, or experienced the dangers of rebellion. He saw the great and apparently universal depravity of men, against which there is only one remedy, namely, the salvation of the Lord, whose delivering power is able to lift even the most besotted sinner to the plane of redemption. To the chief musician, a psalm of David. V. 1. The fool, the spiritually worthless, the madman in things pertaining to his soul's salvation, hath said in his heart, it is his steady secret thought and delusion, There is no God. A person who denies the existence of God is truly foolish, filled with madness; he denies the evidences of his own senses, he deliberately silences the voice of his own conscience. They, all those who give way to foolishness in this manner, are corrupt, they have done abominable works, the idea of badness being emphasized by the whole structure of the text. There is none that doeth good, the inherited wickedness of the human heart is intensified in the case of those who deliberately give way to godlessness. V. 2. The Lord looked down from heaven, bowing forward for the purpose of examining very closely, upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, if any of the sons of Adam, any member of the human race, had an insight into divine things, and seek God, acknowledging Him and His fellowship as the highest good. The result of this careful examination is now stated. V. 3. They are all gone aside, turning away from the path of righteousness and holiness which the divine will has set forth for them to walk, they are all together become filthy, tainted, filled with corruption, so that their stench rises to the nostrils of God; there is none that doeth good, no, not one, the universality of human depravity being stated in the most emphatic terms. But this corruption shows itself most strongly in the children of wickedness, as the question of the psalmist shows. V. 4. Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge? Are they so utterly stupid, devoid of all sense? Has the judgment upon them so stultified their minds that they believe their hypocrisy undiscovered by God? Who eat up my people as they eat bread, not only supporting themselves by devouring the substance of the godly, but also considering their oppression of the righteous altogether self-evident and justified, and call not upon the Lord. They are not in prayerful communion with Jehovah, hence they act like beasts of prey. V. 5. There were they in great fear, namely, at the time when the thunder of Jehovah's wrath hurls them down, they cringe and cower in terror when His judgment approaches; for God is in the generation of the righteous, He protects and governs His children and brings about their complete victory over their enemies. The attitude of the unbelievers at such a time is the same as that of the Egyptians when the Lord troubled them, Ex. 14, 24. 25. V. 6. Ye have shamed the counsel of the poor, the wicked may do so, but in vain, the Lord cries out to them through the poet, because the Lord is his Refuge, Jehovah is his Stronghold, his Defense and Protection. But in view of these conditions the psalmist is constrained to call to the Lord for deliverance. V. 7. Oh, that the salvation of Israel were come out of Zion! Mount Zion, the place where the Ark of the Covenant had found its resting-place, was the place of the presence of God in the midst of His people. It was here that David looked for deliverance upon his poor people, the true believers, suffering under the oppression of the wicked. When the Lord bringeth back the captivity of His people, delivering them from the oppression of this great evil which was now besetting them, Jacob shall rejoice and Israel shall be glad, these two names, Jacob and Israel, being designations of the Church of God, not only in the Old Testament, but at all times. It is, in reality; a Messianic call: Oh, that Jehovah, from His throne in Zion, would grant salvation to His people by revisiting them in their captive, forsaken state, by sending the Messiah to bring them deliverance, thus giving occasion of the greatest rejoicing to the Church of all times! This was fulfilled when the Son of God became man and delivered all mankind from the oppression of all enemies; then it was that salvation of the right kind came upon Israel.